The Grand Prix of Monaco provided a stir with regards to one of Formula 1’s rising teams, Mercedes GP, and an alleged secret tire test the team conducted with the 2013 car, strictly against the Formula 1 rules which state a tire test with a 2013 chassis must be opened to all teams, as it was going to be during the first practice of The Canadian Grand Prix.
Scuderia Ferrari was initially incriminated, but has not faced the brunt of the allegations after team boss Stefano Domenicali was able to have Ferrari’s case dropped. Meanwhile, Mercedes will head to Formula 1’s tribunal and stiff penalties. Even disqualifications from the constructor’s championship are now looming.
Mercedes main defense surely has to be that they had no control of what they were testing, and Pirelli boss Paul Hembery forced the test upon the team. Driver Nico Rosberg echoed these comments in an interview with Sky Sports.
“It’s a full-on Pirelli test, they dictate what we do. We have no say whatsoever, they say ‘Here, you’re doing this, that, that and that’ and that’s it,” Rosberg said. “The engineers, they have run our program, so it’s not up to us to learn anything or decide on anything that we do.”
Gossip has spread throughout the paddock as to what happened at the test, and what gains were made. Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel believes that Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton certainly gained an advantage for this year, while the Sauber F1 team believes tire data gained from this test will benefit the team with development of its 2014 car.
Mercedes GP manager Ross Brawn did say it was his decision to go on with the test, putting more heat on his seat, which was already scorching after management changes that may lead to his undoing, despite everything he has done for the team.
Hembery, for his part, was not involved in a press conference earlier today, per the advice of his legal team. According to NBC’s Will Buxton on Twitter, Red Bull Racing Chief Christian Horner and Ferrari’s Domenicali seemed visibly shaken and nervous while addressing the media, whereas Brawn was calm and steady.
With the drama now somewhat clarified, and possible sanctions forthcoming, Mercedes GP is certainly not only the most-watched team on the track, but now most scrutinized in the paddock as well.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486